The fringe groups, who started canvassing from 2 am, have allegedly received verbal communication from several theatre owners that they won’t screen the film on Thursday.

Pro-Kannada groups go from theatre to theatre ensuring Kaala isnt screened in Bluru
news Controversy Thursday, June 07, 2018 - 11:07

The release of actor-politician Rajinikanth’s Kaala on Thursday was marred by minor incidents of violence in Bengaluru, despite the Karnataka High Court asking the police to ensure the screenings take place smoothly.

From 2 am, pro-Kannada groups have travelled to various theatres and malls across the city to ensure the movie isn’t screened in the city. These fringe groups are protesting against the statements made by Rajini on the Cauvery verdict.

At the time of writing this article, the popular online booking site BookMyShow did not display any show timings for the movie.

In one of the first incidents, members of a pro-Kannada organisations, Karunada Seva Karu, vandalised banners and posters of the film outside Balaji Talkies theatre in Vivek Nagar. Some Tamil-speaking residents of the area gathered to oppose the vandalism and an altercation broke out. However, the police was quickly called in and they ensure the matter did not escalate.  

Rupesh Rajanna, president of the Karunada Seva Karu, appealed to locals to support the protesters and claimed that they are not opposed to Tamils, but only to Rajinikanth for his statements on the Cauvery dispute.

In another incident, members of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, headed by Praveen Shetty, led a protest at Lido Mall in the city centre where the movie was set to release at 10 am. Members of the group claim that they spoke to the manager of the theatre and allegedly got a verbal confirmation from him that the movie was won’t be screened on Thursday.

Shortly before 10 am, the members of the faction broke out in celebrations after it was understood that the screening was stalled. They later headed to Mantri and Orion malls, which have also allegedly agreed not to screen the movie.

In other major theatres, police were stationed outside from as early as 6 am anticipating violence.

"We want a total ban on the release of the film in Bengaluru. Rajini is not important for us, but Cauvery is. Not today, not tomorrow, not a year after this. The film should be banned until Rajini takes back the comment about giving water to Tamil children," Praveen Shetty told TNM.

The unofficial ban called by pro-Kannada organisations against Kaala has the personal support of Sa Ra Govindu, President of the Karnataka FIlm Chamber who is close to Vatal Nagaraj, the President of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha - the face of the pro-Kannada protests.

Even CM Kumaraswamy had said, “As a CM, I have to implement the direction of High Court, it's my responsibility. As an individual, as a Kannadiga, I request the producer of the movie that in this kind of atmosphere, it is not good on their part to release the movie. As a producer and distributor, I can say that even if they release the movie, it won’t be useful to them financially.”

On Tuesday, theatre owners and distributors had agreed to screen the movie, however, Kumaraswamy’s statement seems to have emboldened these fringe groups.

On Thursday, members of the KFCC are set to join the protests at Mysore Bank Circle headed by Vatal Nagaraj and others against the screening of the film.

However, the film will allegedly release from Friday, with a tacit understanding between the film producers, theatre owners and the protesters.

A source told TNM, “There was an agreement that no one will be allowed to screen the film on Thursday. From Friday, it’s up to the theatre owner to run the film or not. Given the financial repercussions of such a ban, it was decided to limit it to a single day..”

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